Getting Started With A Home, Garage, and Garden

From the day I left home shortly after my eighteenth birthday, I have never lived in any place that had a garage, had any reasonable storage space, or that didn’t have a landlord to fix problems. Thus, I never had much need for tools. I used to thoroughly enjoy doing small household tasks and working on cars with my father when I was younger and I plan on doing such things again after we are settled into the house, but I have no tools.

Thankfully, to remedy this, I have been hoarding a couple of Home Depot gift cards, and my father wants to go along to help me select the items after I move, so I’ve been working on an “essentials” list of things I would like to acquire for the home and garage to enable me to do most home repairs myself without panicking and calling a repairman when simple things go wrong. Quite honestly, for tiny things around our apartment, I mostly just use my pocket Leatherman and thus we don’t have any tools at all.

If you have any additional suggestions, please leave them in the comments.

My List of Essentials

A toolbox

By this I mean a small, portable box to carry the things I need for most tasks around with me to where they’re needed. I already have one that will work for a while – it’s the one I had in high school for shop class that still resides in the loft at my parents’ house.

A tool chest

Similarly, I’ll have more things than the toolbox will be able to hold, so the extras go in here. I already know where I can get one of these very inexpensively, so this isn’t a major expense, either.

A 16 or 20 foot tape measure

I’ve actually longed for one of these many times in the apartment and now that we’re moving I can see countless uses for one.

A variety of screwdrivers

I use the four options on my Leatherman most of the time, but having a few quality screwdrivers (and an Allen wrench that isn’t made out of aluminum and bendable by my bare hand) would be fantastic.

A pair of needlenose pliers

Essential for any tight space or dealing with anything small.

A corded drill

We have a cordless drill already that I hate with the fury of a thousand suns – it dies almost every time I start using it. Give me a corded drill – it’s lighter and doesn’t die on you.

An electronic stud finder

We have one of these that’s very cheap and isn’t… reliable. I’ve long ago learned my lesson on this – find a good one that works and you’ll be far happier over the long run.

A short torpedo level

Infinitely useful when leveling all sorts of things around the house. We have an enormous one that’s just unwieldy.

A wrench set

A nice variety of sizes and of sturdy construction – I’ve bent cheap ones before.

A ratchet set

Similarly, a variety of sizes and of sturdy construction.

A wire cutter and stripper

I had one of these in my college dorm room when I was heavily into rewiring stereos and stuff – I can see lots of potential uses for one around the house.

An electrical tester

Is this live? I need to know before I do anything stupid.

Vise grips

I used to borrow my father’s small one all the time when doing different things in junior high and high school, especially related to fixing my bicycle.

A claw hammer

We have one that I intensely dislike, so I’ll be replacing it with one with a smooth head, a steel shaft, a rip claw (not a curved one!), and a rubber grip.

A step ladder

Our entryway has a twelve foot high ceiling with a light at the top. A step ladder will be required for that, if nothing else.


A wide variety of nails are essential, especially when you walk into an empty house and have a ton of stuff that you are going to hang.

A wheelbarrow

We’re going to garden and compost. A wheelbarrow is basically a requirement for this. I also desperately want a compost bin, but it’s not quite a requirement, and also a small tiller.

A shovel

Again, for the garden, but also for a few other uses, too. Amazingly, the place we’re moving to already has a boxed-in garden of pretty good size, which means we’re going to likely also need a few other garden implements to be determined later.

Pruning shears

There’s an assortment of bushes and shrubs around the house that will have to be kept up.

A lawnmower

Last but not least… *sigh*

Are there any major items that we’re overlooking that a homeowner might need or find strongly useful? Please let me know in the comments!

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